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Athersclerosis happens when atheromas (“plaques”) block and harden the arteries. Atheroma is composed of cholesterol, fat, fibrous tissues, calcium and inflammatory cells. Atherosclerosis can occur in any artery of the body, commonly the heart, brain and leg arteries.
Sometimes when pieces of the atheroma break away, a blood clot forms around the fragment, a runaway situation that can snowball into a full-blown heart attack or stroke. Treatment revolves around preventing further damage done by the atherosclerosis such as reducing cholesterol levels and blood pressure. This is to prevent the chance of having a heart attack or stroke, or any further cardiovascular diseases.
Atherosclerosis is a degenerative process that accumulates over many years. Generally, it occurs when there is repeated injury and inflammation in the blood vessel walls due to genetic and lifestyle factors. White blood cells attracted to the affected area swallow cholesterol particles and embed themselves inside the artery wall.
Other risk factors that accelerate injury to the artery wall include:
Atheroma builds up steadily over many years, so many people may not notice symptoms until the plaque is large enough to restrict blood flow, or when a piece breaks off obstructs the artery. The signs and symptoms may also vary depending on the artery affected, as well as the extent to which the blood flow is blocked by the presence of the atheroma.
The signs and symptoms include:
The management of atherosclerosis involves managing the signs and symptoms, as well as slowing down the worsening condition.
They are composed of cholesterol particles, fat, calcium, fibrous tissue, and inflammatory cells.
Atheroma describes fatty plaque accumulations in the arterial walls that may cause narrowings. The scientific name is atherosclerosis. Therefore, atheroma is a cause of atherosclerosis.
Atheroma cannot be removed. However, treatment can slow or arrest the disease process.
This article was independently written by Healthy Matters and is not sponsored. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be relied upon for specific medical advice.
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